DEAR YOUNG MOM

By Beth Zollars

5 Minute Read

 

 

Dear Young Mom Me

I’ve heard many an article where it begins  “ What I would have told my younger self.

Celebrities, business execs, sports personalities, writers, bloggers etc. jumping on the bandwagon making a statement about life as they know it now, imparting wisdom for the ages.

Assuming you are well beyond your  20’s the question begs a self -reflecting nakedness exposing us to the public scrutiny and our own self -worth.

Having done the same retrospective exercise resulting in a new found confidence where there was doubt, now shifting the same objective to mom-hood.

 

What I would have told the Young Mom Me.

 

My story, a little more complex, remembering the pure fear bringing home my bundle after about a month-long stay in the NICU. The little guy born with esophageal atresia and t-fistula had an intensive 8-hour surgery to “replumb” his insides. Life-threatening and even a few decades ago, a death sentence. We were lucky to find one of the best surgeons on the planet, Dr. Roberta Sonnino. Kind, tenacious, skilled beyond imagining. She was a literally a lifesaver and we were and will always be eternally grateful.

 

But beyond the speedbumps of how our baby got his start. My letter would go something like this.

 

 

Dear Young Mom Me –

 

Right now, you are extremely tired, most likely you are done reading the baby books and online blogs (well there weren’t any) and just want some god damn sleep. So sleep. The house does not need another target purchase. The conference call can wait, the book club book can wait, the donor list can be put in the desk drawer, the laundry hasn’t grown mold yet, your juggling can pause. Stop proving and stop fluffing the pillows –

 

Go lay down.

 

 

Now the real judgments start.

 

Not only are you worried about your mom skills, you worry about developmentally where your child functions. I remember a Gymboree class where all the other 18mo little boys and girls were running around terrorizing the toys and each other, while my little guy sat next to me, playing with the action figures. I remember thinking… “what’s wrong with my child?”

 

 

Dear Young Mom Me

Get over it.

 

Nothing is wrong with your child, as a matter of fact, the intense focus will come in handy during studying and other adulting requirements like a job. Your differences in your child are blessings. Skills to nurture to be the difference maker in his/her world. 

Let your child be what they want to be.

Don’t’ be so worried about other parent’s eyes. See yourself through your own eyes, and let your child create their own vision of themselves through their eyes.

Not yours.

 

 

Yes, new and good experiences provide growth and challenge. But, find a compromise. Your child may not be very athletic? Well, then maybe a recreational team is a good option, not the traveling five night a week one. Or choose an individual sport, or no sport at all, just a healthy exercise routine.

 

 

Dear Young Mom Me

Growing isn’t a sprint.

Growth like personalities happens differently for kids. Just because they are all in the same grade doesn’t mean they develop at the same rate. Maturity – emotionally and physically happens in starts and stops. Give them time.

And you don’t want your child to flame out in sixth grade. Give them time and space to just “Become.”

Young Mom Me, so much stress would have been alleviated letting your child just simply be.

 

 

Now the fun begins. Something like this

“….But I just dropped you off”

“Yea, I know Mom, but I forgot my gym clothes upstairs”

“Where upstairs?”

“Not sure, I think under the pile of clothes on my chair….”

 

Sound familiar? You fill in the blank – Mom I forgot my __________

 

 

Dear Young Mom Me,

Bailing your child out, in a tough situation will only cause a lack of responsibility later in life. Forgotten homework? Gym clothes? Lunch? One day without any of these items will not scar the kiddo forever. Maybe just a day or two.

 

Let it go. Let them grow.

 

 

Heart-broken child, heart-broken mom.

Mom’s get crazy when their kids are hurt. Physically and even more so emotionally.

 

 

Dear Young Mom Me,

Don’t try to fix all the pain. Your child has to feel it, work through it themselves. Sit in the junk.

Glossing over hurts and trying to mom band-aid it will only postpone the ability of self -healing. Being left out, not playing in the game, name calling, broken hearts, you name it, elementary and middle school are breeding grounds for the hierarchy of tormentors.

 

 

It took me a few years but even young mom me had the sense to see these hurtful experiences were all learning opportunities for creating ever important adult coping skills. Tough coach, guess what your boss, roommate, a co-worker can all be that same knucklehead.

 

Kid grit is what I call it.

 

Allow them to develop it.

 

 

Dear Young Mom Me,

And let them continue to develop into adulting. With experience comes growth. With mistakes, and screwups comes even more growth. Young mom me, stop helping them and proofreading assignments! Stop giving them spreadsheets of college applications to do’s!

 

Directing is different than doing! Stop doing.

 

 

Allow, no require them to put their own skin in the game creating their own game, not yours.

Give them the independence to design their own game. College applications, essays, papers, jobs etc. Their world. Not yours.

 

Time for you to fly.

 

 

Dear Younger Mom Me,

Guilt is a powerful mom tool. Don’t use it. Young mom me, you developed an amazing independent, creative, unique young person. Let the world see who they are. Needy is never a good attribute to develop in your children. Don’t guilt them into staying close to home to fulfill your insecurities. Younger Mom Me, (he’s only been gone two years) You had your chance. You built your path. It is their time now.

 

Let them go.

 

And Younger Mom Me, he will always have a part of you he carries with him.

 

You did good mom- a human being to be proud of.

 

Signed,

Mom Now Me.

 

 

PS. Breath. He’s home in 2 weeks.

 

The cutie pie on a spring break trip in St. Croix
The cutie pie now, a Sophomore at The Dodge Film School at Chapman University- Orange California. 16125.5 miles away.

 

And to all the moms out there – Love is never wrong, a hug is always needed, and attention is the best gift of all.

 

Love to hear your new or seasoned mom tips and tribulations.

Comment below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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